So what do you say we cook a classic pasta with garlic, oil and red pepper tonight? But this time instead of the traditional garlic let's put the black one!
Created in Korea in 2004, after a spread mainly in the East and the United States, black garlic has also made its way to Europe. Its particular colouring and very soft texture are obtained through a fermentation process that makes it pleasant to the taste and easily digestible. It can be used in the preparation of various dishes that are also appreciated by those who do not particularly like garlic and is considered a super food because it boasts many healthy properties for the body.
Despite its far-off origins, black garlic is now also produced in Italy, by original and innovative companies such as NeroFermento, which has chosen Packstyle packaging to preserve it properly.
Stefano Silvi tells us with a smile the story of NeroFermento, born almost by chance from a group of six friends who are passionate about cooking and technology. It was the combination of these two interests that turned it into an entirely unique entrepreneurial activity.
The idea was born between 2015 and 2016: one of us was doing a natural garlic cure, with socially unmanageable consequences! At that time, we read by chance about a Korean black garlic that left no smell. We decided to order it.
After the first taste, we set about making it ourselves, converting a seed dryer, using Arduino software, into a small fermenter. Shortly afterwards, we decided to dare a bit more, making it an entrepreneurial activity. We developed all the technology ourselves, from hardware to software.
Our entrepreneurial idea was to propose an innovative product, exotic in some respects, but starting from a material of excellence in the area.
Fermentation and maturation take place within the maturation cells in a natural cycle, i.e. in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment without the addition of additives or preservatives. The cycle lasts about 60 days, a period of time in which the technology, i.e. specially developed software and sensors, allows constant and complete control of the fermentation process.
The process causes the garlic to lose 90% of the thiosulfinates that normally make it pungent. It also makes the raw material release notes of liquorice, balsamic vinegar and plum and, not least, makes social contacts more manageable. The benefits of this fermented food have also amazed and intrigued scholars at the University of Ferrara, with whom NeroFermento has started a collaboration to monitor the product.
But when it comes to ferment, it's not just about garlic, it's about the whole team.
We are a dynamic group and we are passionate about continuous evolution in our work. Black garlic is a new product around which we are always looking for new things to offer. Having practically 'created' a new, unfamiliar product from nothing, and then having put a lot of effort into making it known, to create a demand that wasn't there, makes us proud and always looking for something new. With black garlic, we have succeeded in proposing a product that, thanks to the ripening process, increases its normal antioxidant properties by 13 times, loses the sulphurous part of the allicin and thus becomes digestible and 'kiss-proof'. It is to all intents and purposes a super food.
We are also proud to have designed the ripening cells from scratch, converting a seed dryer into a small fermenter and dealing entirely with the technological part.
Garlic then is a product of excellence from the Ferrara area, with the Voghiera PDO designation since May 2010. With NeroFermento we have enhanced a local product, giving it an added value that respects its characteristics.
The passion and the many sacrifices that make this little magic possible lead producers to worry about preserving all the properties of black garlic. Humidity, frost and too much light are enemies of garlic and can damage it. Garlic should be stored in a cool, dry and ventilated place, away from sunlight. Proper packaging therefore needs to take the characteristics of garlic into account and NeroFermento has relied on pouches from Packstyle.
Packstyle doypacks were a breakthrough in terms of practicality and style. We were finally able to ennoble our product with simple and elegant packaging.
With Packstyle we decided to design the new bulb doypacks. We chose 30 g and 100 g packs for the Nero di Voghiera and Aglio Nero lines and 30 g packs for the powder of both the Nero di Voghiera and NERO&BIO lines. The material chosen for all the packages is recyclable film with a zip seal. Since black garlic is also a little-known product, we chose to put a transparent window on the front of the pouches to show its contents.
NeroFermento was founded as an innovative start-up company and is one of Packstyle's main target customers. Packstyle is well acquainted with the needs of the sector as it too is an innovative start-up. Offering professional, neat and customised packaging, which can also be ordered in minimum quantities of 50 pieces, are advantageous aspects for those starting a business or those dealing with niche products such as fermented black garlic.
We chose Packstyle for two main reasons: versatility and the ability to print short runs. We appreciated the multi-graphic service that allows us to change the graphics without adding costs.
We were delighted with Packstyle's responsiveness and willingness to follow the customer. It is not fair to call them mere suppliers, but partners in all respects. Another strength of the company is the kindness of everyone we interfaced with.
We are well aware that packaging cannot be considered a secondary aspect but represents an essential element, not only for its function of protecting the product from external factors, but also as a strategic vehicle aiming at a strong communicative impact.
Packaging for us is container, but also image. It is fundamental, it must ennoble a product that is in some respects 'simple', making the interlocutor understand that it is not a trivial product, but a product that was not there and now is there.
We started with the original 30g and 100g bulb packaging. We chose to respect our coordinated and distinctive image, with the idea of making it an evolution without distorting it, and we tried to adapt it to the new packaging. Right from the start we played with the colour black, which fully represents our products, lilac, which represents the consortium of Voghiera Garlic PDO, stripes for the Aglio Nero line and the colour havana for a craft concept: something natural and pure. All inserted in the geometric shapes that distinguish our style.
NeroFermento's Black Garlic is developed in 3 different lines, starting with two different raw materials: DOP garlic from Voghiera, and 100% Italian organic garlic. The Nero di Voghiera line is destined for the Ho.Re.Ca channel, the Aglio Nero line for large-scale distribution and the NERO&BIO line for the organic circuit.
NeroFermento's offer is not limited to bulbs, which can be found both with and without peel, but includes garlic powder, flavoured oils, creams and even two different pestos, one of walnuts and black garlic and the other of topinambur and black garlic.
All we have to do is heat up the pans, open the doypacks and feel all the fragrance of NeroFermento's black garlic, a new, healthy product to eat in company without the traditional effects of classic garlic! ...remember, don't forget the kiss test!